A  bit of an explanation, before I begin…

On the first day of my counselling training (many years ago, now), my college lecturer told me that one of the key course requirements would be to write a reflective learning journal, charting the development of my personal awareness in relation to the theory I will be learning about. No problem, thought I, and continued listening to all the information she had to deliver; the course content, the college rules, where the fire exits were, the cafeteria system, car parks, LRC systems and logins and much, much more.  Of course, by the time I got home and settled down, ready to write said journal, I had forgotten everything she had told us on how to write it, despite my copious note taking.

So I did what any of us would do; I googled it, and found… not a lot.

What I needed at that point in my training, more than anything, was to see a real live journal in the flesh – to give me an idea of what I should be doing, to compare my notes with, to support me and help me feel that I was not alone in the world beginning a long and (honestly perilous, at times) journey into self-awareness. Impossible though; journals are incredibly personal – there is no way I would have wanted any of my fellow students reading anything I had written at this stage in the game, and I am quite sure that they felt the same as me. What would have been perfect was an anonymous, unconnected ex student,or student from another college. Exactly the sort of thing that blogs were designed for… so why couldn’t I find many?

Years later, having written many, many, journal entries since, I know exactly why very few people publish theirs. The level of honesty and openness required in this writing is of a level so great that I honestly can’t think of an adjective adequately describing it. At times, a reflective journal peers into the very essence of the writer’s soul. The trials and tribulations of training for  a new career, splashed across the web for all the world to see? Scary…

So here I am, doing it. Publishing my journal. Why? Firstly; for others to see, maybe learn from – well, that’s a big ‘maybe’…

Secondly; for me.

One of my key issues that I have identified in myself during the last few years of therapy and training is the emotional scarring I have developed since my very painful divorce, two years ago. From having been a wife, mother and successful small business woman; I suddenly found myself unable to cope with my life – I got diagnosed with a long-term chronic illness, making it impossible for me to work full-time any more; I lost my business, the house we lived in was sold to pay for it, and my children and I didn’t cope with any of this very well at all. (I am not hiding the details, I am sure they will all be revealed through the course of this blog, but for the brevity of this entry I won’t go into them too much for now.) In short; unable to trust anyone, fearing more betrayal, and needing time out to grieve for my losses, I withdrew from the world in general.

My initial reasons for rejoining my counselling training was to find a use for myself in being useful to emotionally support others, and thus distract myself from my suffering. My self loathing was so  massive that i couldn’t bear to really explore what was really happening inside my head, and I fooled myself into believing that it was ok to simply ignore, as I was so used to doing, and find myself another distraction from the truth.

Oh, no, no, no… that’s not how it works… Yeah, I knew all along on some level, I suppose. I have learnt, painfully, that the cause of the suffering needs some kind of confrontation in order to heal – and I suppose my publishing this blog/journal is an attempt at that. By making it public, I am exposing myself to the world, for real. Accept me, or don’t – just the fact that I am doing this, means to me in some way that I am learning to accept myself, and I can’t tell you huge that is to me…



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